Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Freckleface Strawberry

Last Thursday, I went to see Freckleface Strawberry The Musical, playing at the New World Stages. It is a children’s show based on a book series written by actress, Julianne Moore. The story is about a girl, Strawberry, who is the only redhead with freckles among her friends, how she wishes she did not have them, and the lengths she was willing to go to get rid of them.

I cannot express how much I enjoyed this show. From the moment the characters took the stage, started playing with their schoolyard toys and started singing, I knew we were in for a special show. It was so full of life. The book was funny and sweet and the music was engaging and infectious. It's a smart show that makes it great for kids, but also engages the adults, such as the Freaky Freckleface Family complete with a bad Godfather impersonation. Occasionally the fourth wall is broken and the audience is included in the story, which delighted most of the kids. The choreography was outstanding, particularly the playground scenes. During the song, “Basketball,” the company performed a complicated sequence involving dribbling basketballs to music. So much could have gone wrong, but it did not and it looked spectacular.

The actors were wonderful. Dance captain, Morgan Smith, filled in for Hayley Podschun, as Strawberry, and she was delightful. She really captured Strawberry’s pain at feeling different but also captured what it’s like to be a kid. Linda Gabler did triple duty as Strawberry’s mother, teacher and classmate, Jane. Yet the real breakout star of the show was Kimiko Glenn who played Emily, the boy crazy and ditzy friend. Her comedic timing was spot on. She often stole whatever scene she was in.

Freckleface Strawberry is enjoying an open-ended run, and I would recommend it to anyone with young children as well as adults looking for a show that is a little more innocent. Just be careful after the show because you might get mowed down by some kids running to catch a glimpse of one of the actors.